Blog: Unlocking potential through Literacy

Learners who read for an average of five minutes per day will read around 300,000 words per year. Readers who invest twenty minutes per day in books will read 1,800,000 words.

An increased vocabulary leads to learners who are better equipped to approach the wider school curriculum. Literacy does not simply relate to the study of English. Without strong reading and writing skills the majority of subjects studied at school become a challenge for learners who do not have a great start.

 ‘The Matthew Effect’ is a phrase often used in the fields of business, economics and education. Matthew’s Gospel outlines the parable of the talents, and in particular demonstrates how those who have worked hard to accumulate more will ultimately do better. This is particularly true when it comes to reading. Those readers who make a great start in their education, and make great progress in the first three years of their education, continue to outperform those who do not.

It has been widely researched and evidenced that literacy skills are critical to unlocking the potential of a learner in education and later employment. It has also been widely agreed by educators and academics how important it is for learners to get off to a great start. 

At Swanbourne…

At Swanbourne, we ensure that every child is able to make a great start. We do this through a combination of small class sizes, daily systematic phonics, excellent teaching and a literature rich environment. In the Manor House, where our youngest learners begin their educational journey in our EYFS department and KS1, pupils are able to spend time in a reading room with a wealth of high quality texts for the pupils to explore and enjoy. They spend at least twenty minutes per day developing their reading skills.

As they move up into the Main House in Lower KS2, they are then immersed in a world of reading. Our library contains over six thousand books. Pupil Librarians and Senior Librarians lead their peers to make choices that will challenge and inspire them. Reading competitions celebrate success and monthly reading challenges encourage our learners to develop a reading habit that will stick with them.

Over the course of their studies at Swanbourne House School, it is such a privilege to watch our learners progress. We ensure that those critical first steps in their education are built upon to develop our learners into confident, critical book lovers. Over the past three months, Swanbourne House students in Years 3 to 6 have read over 1,000 books, a total of over 20,000,000 words. This incredible foundation ensures that their talents do not hide under a bushel. Their time investment allows them to reap outstanding rewards, both in terms of their educational success, attending some of the best senior schools in the country, and developing their capabilities when it comes to emotional intelligence, imagination and creativity.

John Licqurish, Whole School Literacy Coordinator 

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